By Michael Slezak
Updated July 30, 2010 at 07:32 AM EDT

If you’re looking for a metaphor to describe tonight’s second-season premiere of Jersey Shore, how about the SUV that The Situation and Pauly D drove into a South Carolina corn field during their road-trip to Miami? Tires spinning, covered in filth, and sinking under its own unfeasible weight, the vehicle needed not one, but two tow-trucks to drag it back to a functioning position. I’m not sure if there’s a similar service available for overexposed reality-show participants, but oh what I wouldn’t have given to see a character named Triple A round up Snooki, JWoww, Angelina, The Situation, Ronnie, Pauly D, and the super boring dude with the carefully sculpted eyebrows for either a badly needed tuneup or a trip to the scrap heap.

Yeah, I’m being harsh, but do Jersey Shore‘s pack of self-proclaimed guidos and guidettes really deserve better? My problem with tonight’s episode wasn’t the fact that every word and action from the cast was a total contrivance — that’d be like going to McDonald’s and being outraged that your Big Mac didn’t come served on fine china — but that said contrivances were so thoroughly and exhaustingly void of humor, originality, or even genuine outlandishness.

Such a short way into their celebrity life-cycle, you can practically feel the Jersey Shore kids buying into their own hype, believing they needn’t do anything beyond just showing up, of going through the motions of what they think the show’s producers think their lives should look like: “Eyebrows” declares his “60 girls in 60 days” policy with all the sexual fervor of a movie-theater concessions clerk telling you that you can upgrade to a medium combo for only fifty cents more. Angelina (who even in her dreams isn’t an eighth as bawdy-hilarious as Khloe Kardashian) goes to a salon to get a Brazilian wax, but can’t think of anything more clever to say than “The bitch of Staten Island is back and ready to f****** party!” And oh, how about Ronnie and Sammi? He calls her an unspeakable insult — hint: it rhymes with grunt — and she goes home and films a confessional saying she still loves and cares about him because, well, without a will-they-won’t-they story arc to perpetuate, she’ll just be a third banana to Snooki and JWoww. (Spoiler alert: She still is anyway!)

But I’m supposed to be writing a jaunty recap, not a self-help manual for young women with severe self-esteem issues or a screed against what’s wrong with pretty much everything ever. So let’s do an alphabetical rundown of our players and what they got up to this week:

Angelina: “I feel like in the world, everybody deserves a second shot,” she declared at the top of the show, though whether she was talking about Patrón, Jägermeister, or redemption is anyone’s guess. Our Lady of Misunderstood Intentions/Achingly Unselfaware Blathering then “surprised” her estranged cast-mates by flying to Miami and foisting herself on them for a second season. Angelina was allowed to bunk with Pauly D and The Situation on the off chance that they experienced a “slow night” with “no chicks” and a rainy forecast. (Silly me, and here I thought that’s why God invented the Wii.) Angelina, who spent most of the episode in shorts so skimpy that the pockets hung below her cuffs like sad, drooping tongues, found herself getting the icy cold shoulder from Snooki and JWoww — that is until she got into a cab with them, participated in an unintelligible but very loud verbal altercation, and then announced in her confessional: “I’m tryin’ to be classy right now.” Someone raise a “mission accomplished” banner in that young woman’s honor!

Eyebrows: Coined the word “obliviated” to describe Ronnie’s alarmingly drunken state. Otherwise seemed to exist merely to offer expository sound bites for the show’s editing team.

JWoww: Road-tripped it to Miami with Snooki, and somehow found time to change into an elegant pink sequined dress before entering the cast’s shared apartment at Metropole Hotel Apartments. (Newsflash: The hottub is gonna need a few more years before it’s safe again.) I loved the way JWoww got all puffed up when she realized Angelina was in the house, declaring “I’m not gonna let a girl be catty and get away with it and live in my house without getting her ass beat.” (Wait, if the girl is in your house and going to get her ass beat, then how come you’re also implying she got away with it? Discuss!) I couldn’t understand half of what JWoww said while attempting to scramble over the back seat of the rental car and apply a coat of smackdown to Angelina — a steady succession of bleeps will do that to one’s listening comprehension — but it sure made Sammi and Snooki laugh.

Pauly D: Implied he drunkenly hooked up with Angelina in L.A. during the Jersey Shore offseason. I’d like to see a polygraph, Mr. D.

Ronnie: I nominate Ronnie for ABC’s next Bachelor. Just think about the unique attributes he brings to the game: Able to make out with two women at the same time (handy during two-on-one dates); doesn’t discriminate against strippers (allowing for a wider casting net of bachelorettes); states the obvious with wit and panache (“I’m in Miami, bitch!” he shouted to no one in particular); and did we mention his expressive use of the c-word? But don’t take my testimonial for it, take Sammi’s: “I love him and still care about him.” Wait, is she saying she would absolutely accept his rose? But here’s my burning question about Ronnie: Why in the name of all that’s Jersey would all those unidentified women make out with the lumbering lummox — in plain view of MTV’s cameras? People aren’t that desperate to be on TV, right? Discuss!

Sammi: Oh enough about this one and her issues, already! (At least till she has a physical altercation with JWoww.)

Snooki: Okay, I know I was pushing Ronnie for Bachelor, but with the way Snooki described her relationship with her “amazing gorilla juicehead” boyfriend, it sounded like she was advocating the launch of Bumpit of Love on VH1 in the not-so-distant future. “I really don’t wanna cheat. Like seriously, I don’t want to. But y’know, if you’re gonna hand me a bottle of freakin’ SoCo [translation: Southern Comfort?], something just comes over me, and like I just go crazy,” Snooki said. Later, she got political: “I don’t go tanning-tanning anymore. Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning. And I feel like he did that intentionally to us. McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning because he’s pale and he would probably wanna be tan. Obama doesn’t have that problem, obviously.” What more is there to say than that, really? Actually, I should observe that Snooki’s thrice-daily bronzer looks like it comes in a container of diner syrup.

The Situation: While the late Princess Diana spent a lot of her adult life trying to raise awareness of land mines, I’m not sure she’d be exactly flattered to find that Sitchu is attempting to make the phrase happen as a code word for “thin ugly chick,” or that he’s using the term “grenade” to label “bigger ugly chicks.” Sigh. But let’s not waste the pretty and instead part ways reviewing this overly long, but truly poetic sound bite, from the Sitchu himself: “It was a crazy amount of tension. I mean, it was so thick you could probably like slice it down the middle in the air. That’s how thick it was.” Alrighty then!

What did you think of the second-season premiere of Jersey Shore? Will it be as much of a phenomenon as it was during season 1? Share your thoughts below, and to get all my pop-culture news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak.

Episode Recaps

Jersey Shore Family Vacation CR: MTV

Jersey Shore

Follow Snooki, the Situation, Pauly, Ronnie, Sammi, Jwoww, Vinny, and Deena as they party, smush, and GTL

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